Written Answers. - Paedophile Register.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

461 Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Justice whether he proposes to introduce a paedophile register; if so, when; and the persons who would have access to such a register. [16855/96]

The Garda authorities report that the Garda criminal record office already maintains indexed records of all persons convicted of criminal offences, including persons convicted of sexual offences. These records are confidential. Garda records and the information contained in them is disclosed only in certain limited circumstances.

The limited circumstances in question include the provision by the Garda Síochána of information to employers — including those in children's residential centres — on the criminal convictions, if any, recorded in respect of applicants for posts which involve substantial access to children. The release of such information is, having regard to the provisions of the Data Protection Act, 1988, subject to the prior written consent of each applicant.

Forceful arguments have been advanced from various sources for the establishment of a permanent register for convicted paedophiles. There are complex issues including constitutional ones involved which are under active review in my Department at present. Such matters as right of access to such a register if formed will be examined in this context.